BY BRIAN MANSFIELD | GANNETT NEWS SERVICE
First New Jersey, then the nation. Last year, as his song “Trap Queen” was taking off in clubs around his hometown of Paterson, N.J., rapper Fetty Wap sold it out of his car as part of a five-track EP. “Nobody knew us; we just did the footwork,” says Wap, 24.
“From Paterson, we went to Passaic. From Passaic, we went north, and we were all over New Jersey. ”
Now, one year after Wap first posted a rough version of the sing-songy track to SoundCloud, “Trap Queen” is No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 andFetty Wap is among the lineup for the WGCI Summer Jam on June 20 at the United Center.
WGCI Summer Jam Lil Wayne, Trey Songz, Sevyn Streeter, August Alsina, Fetty Wap, Dej Loaf When: 7:30 p.m. June 20 Where: United Center, 1920 W. Madison Tickets: $20-$59.50 Visit: ticketmaster.com
Wap has received the stamp of approval from the likes of Rihanna and Kanye West, who called “Trap Queen” his “favorite song at the moment” and brought him onstage at a February concert in New York City. “He just told me good luck on your career, you’ve got a bright future,” Wap says. “I told him thank you. He shook my hand and gave me a hug.” Since then, Wap says, “when I go to clubs, I don’t have to wait outside.”
Wap lost his left eye to childhood glaucoma. Because he didn’t lead with that story when “Trap Queen” took off, people started to speculate. One rumor had him losing the eye to a bullet.
“It helped build my following,” he says. “People started getting interested, and they fell in love with the music in the process of trying to figure out what had happened.”
Wap has the number 1738 tattooed beside his right, a reference to the Rémy Martin cognac.
“We call ourselves the Remy Boyz, because that’s our choice of drink,” he says of his crew. “We figure if we’re going to be the Remy Boyz, we might as well be the best. So 1738 is the best.”
“Queen” has become popular with remixers, with both Fabolous and French Montana putting their stylistic touch on the track. Another, from Arthur McArthur, mashes the track with Queen hits “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Another One Bites the Dust.” Wap favors a remix from Quavo of the Georgia hip-hop group Migos. “The type of track it is, and the way he floats on the track, it fits perfectly,” he says.
A full-length mixtape is coming later this year. “It’s definitely going to be one of the most-talked-about mixtapes of 2015. A lot of people are going to understand where I’m coming from and what type of music I’m going to make.”